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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone work or have worked in a dog daycare (or even just general opinions about ones they've been to etc) that could explain the inner workings of one - basically everything about it. I've never been to one or even looked at them.

Thank you for any help :)
 

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I work in one. It's old, small, and very basic. Dogs come in and stay in kennels and get taken out for 15 minute potty/play breaks 5 times during the day. If you have an old dog that may be all it needs, but I wouldn't recommend this style of daycare for a young energetic dog. We do mostly have old dogs come in while their owners are working. They just sleep all day except when they're outside. We have a huge yard for them to run and play in or just wander and sniff. It's one of a few redeeming features of this place. We do great grooming too. I know there are better daycares out there but this is the only place that would hire me without previous experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for that!! I'm trying to gather as much information as I can about all kinds of different ones just to see the similarity and differences between some.
 

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Yeah, this one I work at isn't terrible, just very basic. If I were to make changes, I'd make the kennels larger (largest ones are 5ft x 7ft), make them easier to clean (tile floors = bad idea!), make the building larger (it's very small, an old farm house actually), just do a bunch of general repair and update (lots of old stuff in here), and maybe split the yard in half or something so multiple groups can be out at once. Taking out one or two or three dogs at a time when you have 30 or more takes FOREVER, and we can't give them more time when we're having to work on a schedule. But the dogs get fed and cared for well, I just know we could be doing so much better.
 

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really really depends on the daycare. I work in a daycare, but it is a very large one(140+ dogs a day) so it works entirly different from smaller scale daycares!

ours has a large indoor play yard with outdoor yard attached for small/shy dogs, with a smaller fenced in area within, for "teacup" sized dogs, the small dogs are split into 2 groups based on there friends and temeperment, and the 2 groups and the teacup corner rotate through the room/yard all day, we do not allow any toys in the room because of the risk of fights, so the dogs just run around and play together, when there group is nout out, they are in group pens where they can either still play, or catch a sleep.

the large dogs have 3 huge outdoor yards(an acre), in the morning as the dogs are comming in, they come in and if they are neuteral they go straight to the front yard where the girls out there keep track of when that dog came out, and the dogs come in after about 30 minuts and they are grouped into kennels, as they go into kennel they are assigned into groups, and those groups start right away getting rotated into the back 2 yards, once most of the dogs have come in, we switch to all 3 yards for the groups and rotate every 30 minutes until about 5-6pm, at that point we pause daycare groups because we are a boarding kennel as well, and we switch to just the boarding dogs through the yards(good boarding dogs are in groups with the daycare dogs, but the singles only go out in the yards in the morning and in the evening) once the boarding have been out, the remaining daycare are split into new groups and stay out to play until they go home.

in between, lunch is fed between 10-11am and supper about 4pm, but the groups and playtime dont stop for feeding or cleaning, we have like 30 staff members.
 

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Oh yeah, what's different about ours is max capacity is like 40 or so, but we only get 20 or more on holidays. Like this weekend we have had a max of 24 dogs. We also don't do temperament testing, we do have groups though based on previous knowledge of dogs from past boarding/daycare (we have a LOT of regulars) or if they're new we listen to the owners and based on that decide if we want to try them with a group or not. We seem to get a lot of non-social dogs, I think because so many places require dogs to be social. Often our daycares don't eat while here, but we will feed if the owners request it. They're often fed breakfast before arrival and dinner after pickup (we close at 6).
 

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we dont temperment test either, we accept anyone so long as they are not a serious danger to US. our groups are based on our own experiences as a vast majority of the dogs that come are regulars(every day or close to it), new dogs we see how they react when they come in, and we pick groups to try them in based on that. we do have several dogs that do not go out with others, they get their own seperate playtimes. we often ignore what the owners say TBH, usually the owners assesment is dead wrong lol, 1 dog for example got kicked out of another daycare for aggressive behaviour, so that is what we were told, she has been with us for over a year now and is one of our most neutral easy going dogs. likewise we have has "very friendly" dogs that are not that friendly at all, they have to have very specific groups made around them lol
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks Daenerys!

The place is being renovated before she gets in it!

Wow Miss bugs! Thanks for that! This is going to be a pretty small daycare. I have a lot to think over in the next few weeks/months :D

You guys are awesome! Thank you so much for all the help!
 

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Oh I didn't mean that you DO temperament test, just your use of the word temperament reminded me that a lot of places do temperament test. There are a few around here that I know do it. And we don't blindly listen to the owners, but they know their dogs better than we do if they're new to our place, and they can often give us clues as to whether or not a dog would do well in a certain group Obviously if what they tell us proves to be wrong, we just do an unofficial assessment of our own based on what we can figure out in the time the dog is with us.
 

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Oh I didn't mean that you DO temperament test, just your use of the word temperament reminded me that a lot of places do temperament test. There are a few around here that I know do it. And we don't blindly listen to the owners, but they know their dogs better than we do if they're new to our place, and they can often give us clues as to whether or not a dog would do well in a certain group or not. Obviously of that prices wrong we just do an unofficial assessment of our own based on what we can figure out in the time the dog is with us.
oh I know :p I wasnt saying anything about your place nor did I think you were saying anything about mine lol, just noting the differences between our daycares and many other daycares as yours sounds similer but smaller/less exersized based then mine :p
 

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I wish ours was more exercised based. I would change a lot if my some miracle I inherited the place or something and simultaneously came into a lot of money, but alas, I just work here and if I want to keep working here and building up experience I have to play by the rules.
 

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me too lol, my main issue about my daycare is too many groups, more then we need, the groups are made around the non neuteral dogs, but many of those dogs are buddies with one another, but the manager makes the groups around each on its own, instead of combining them, this means that instead of 12 groups we end up with closer to 20 and that takes HOURS to get through.
 

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My dog just attends daycare so I can only give a rough outline of how it works. Their new facility was just completed and they'll be moving over (it's very close, one street over) next week. It has four play rooms that separate the dogs by a combination of size, temperment, and play style. Currently they have 3 play rooms the toy box for small and very mellow/gentle bigger dogs, the gym for the high energy play machines, and the lounge for the larger rough and tumble dogs (where Jubel is). In the new building the fourth room is supposed to be an in between from the gym and lounge, I think the lounge was more intended for the large older dogs to chill but ended up with more large rough and tumble guys who don't bother the chill dogs.

Drop offs start at 7am and you have to pick up by 7pm or your dog is staying the night for $20 boarding fee. I'm not positive what the capacity is but there is one that was met the day before Thanksgiving this year. Haha Jubel was the last dog without a reservation to get in that day, few minutes later and I would have had to turn around and drop him back off at home before work. From 12-2 is a designated nap time where dogs are put in crates or boarding suites. Dogs who are staying for boarding are fed at 7am and 7pm, lunches can be fed upon request.

The facility is all indoor with play gym equipment in the rooms for the dogs to climb on and in as well as some cots to chill out on. Temperment tests are done with all dogs before they are allowed to attend daycare, takes about 10-15 minutes.
 

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Niraya, what specifically do you want to know? I've worked in daycare/boarding for years and I could talk about it even longer than that.

In the two facilities that I've been in the groomers kind of did their own thing. The first daycare had a groomer 3-6 days a week. Customers had to call her to make appointment whether they were daycare/boarding customers or just there for grooming. That way the groomer could kind of make her own schedule. The daycare I'm in now only has a groomer come in on Mondays. People make appointments through me. While this also works, I would much rather have the groomer making her own appointments. I don't know the grooming dogs the way she does. The remainder of the week she grooms for other facilities not affiliated with ours.

The first daycare I was in was kind of complicated in the way that it ran. We were open from 7:00am-7:00pm except on Sundays. On Sundays, there was only boarding and daycare for the boarding dogs staying. Our doors opened for pick up or drop off from 5pm-7pm.

We had 5 indoor play rooms, an outdoor pool area, a large yard, and another small outdoor play area. ALL dogs start the day out inside. Going outside first thing in the morning brimming with energy was a recipe for disaster.

There was one small dog group. Certain medium-big dogs were allowed in on an individual basis. For example, Champ a CKCS has a geriatric lab brother. The lab was old and lived peacefully with a small dog so we tested him out with other small dogs. And so began his days in the small dog group.

For boarding dogs we had various daycare and non-daycare options.
Full day daycare: Comes out at 6:30 when staff first shows up. Eats breakfast at 7:00 and comes back out at 9:00 for daycare. They would eat dinner at 5:00 come back out for a half hour potty break before lights out at 7:00.
Half day daycare: It is what it sounds like. Owners or staff could choose if the dog had play time in the morning or afternoon. Either way, they had a potty breaks in the morning and evening.
No daycare:These dogs had three potty outing during the day and spent the rest of the time in their kennels. The morning and evening potty breaks last 15 minutes. The midday potty break was half an hour. Dogs that were no daycare for their entire stay had yellow kennel cards. Hence why we called these dogs "yellow cards"
Red cards: Red card dogs had red kennel cards making it glaringly obvious that they are to have ZERO contact with other dogs. They have the same kind of outings as no daycare dogs except that they are out by themselves.

The difference between red cards and yellow cards is that yellow cards DO have their outings in the daycare groups.

All of the kennel cards were to be initialed by the staffer in charge. Outings, medications, and daycare time were all initialed for. I loved that system. I'm also anal retentive and saying "color coded" gets me all jazzed up.


I can count on one hand the number of times I have bathed a dog. Each time it was either for explosive poo or rolling in poo. I only remember one time that a woman complained about her dog being too dirty when he went home.

I firmly believe in "interviews", aka evaluations. So many people think their dog will be great in daycare and have soooo much fun. Several people have sworn up and down that their dog loves the dog park only for me to find out that the dog has piss poor social skills. You can't really rely on owner information.

Evals should be done in the absence of the owner. There is such a big difference in a dog's behavior when the owner is there, sometimes good and sometimes bad. We always start by introducing a dog of the opposite sex, off leash in a play room. The dogs that become eval dogs are to be treasured. They're the kind that can diffuse any tense situation and leave me with my mouth hanging open. My personal favorite is a female mystery mutt named Kaia. I've actually seen another dog try to start a fight with her but she worked her magic and it just fizzled out.

I'll chime in with more and info on my current daycare too as it is very different from my first.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Dagwall - thanks for your experience! Gives me an idea on the hours I'll be putting in also.

Wow! This is all very fantastic! Thank you so much for all of that Tofu_pup!
I was really just looking for peoples experiences with going to and working at the daycare as to get an idea - at it's most basic - as to how they're run and how things are done. So all in all I wanted to know EVERYTHING - as to specifics some things I was curious about was if there was indoor and outdoor areas for play, if they were divided areas so more than one group could be out at a time or not, if dogs were individually kenneled for rest or kenneled in groups etc. Just basically everything. Oh! What about pricing and that? What would be considered "average"?

KaywinnitLee- Wagsworth Manor - RIDICULOUS! That's a pretty amazing place. definitely won't be ANYTHING like that lol!
 

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my daycare is:

1 dog:
$15/day
$130/10 pk (never expires)
$240/20 pk (never expires)
$200/ month unlimited (as many days as you want from the date purchased to the same date of the following month)

for 2 dogs its double and -$5, ie, 2 dogs one day is $25 instead of $30 etc..

other daycares in my area are similar in pricing. but go to the next city over and the prices are almost double!
 

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Yeah prices vary greatly based on your area and what the facility offers. I use dogtopia which is a chain with facilities across the US and a quick check on their sites at different parts of the country varies the price. All locations have single day prices and discounted prices for buying multi-day passes, also a discount for multiple dogs. Prices at my location are much higher than the ones Miss Bugs listed but I'm just outside DC so I'm pretty sure I'm in a higher cost of living area in the first place.

For setting your own prices I'd look at the costs at the other daycares in your area and your facility compared to theirs.
 

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The prices around here range from $17-$27 for a full day of daycare. Most half days are considered to be from 7am-1pm or 1pm-7-pm. I'm not crazy about that half day system. The daycare I'm in now considers a half day to be 6 hours with no set time for pick up. I once saw my supervisor at the previous daycare charge a man for a full day because he dropped his dog off at 12:55(with intent to get a half day). That's a-okay by me but she wouldn't let it go. Boy oh boy, was he pissed! He altered his dog's daycare schedule so that he never had to see her again and talked sh*t about her to the rest of the staff(We didn't like her anyway...). My current daycare is $18 for a full day, $13 for a half day, and it's maybe $5 if you just drop your dog off for a couple hours. That seems very fair to me.

Most places will also charge less than the norm when you're sending more than one dog. For example, one dog is $18 for a full day but two dogs is only $32. I think this just makes it ever so slightly easier to afford daycare for multiple dogs. The wagsworth manor site can give you an idea about charging for multiple dogs.

Let me say that neither of the daycares I have been in have been perfect. They both have plenty of flaws and if I could start my own daycare that lives up to my expectations, believe you me, I would.

I do NOT like to see daycares that are just converted warehouses. Yeah, wild crazy dogs can still enjoy themselves wrestling but how many dogs do you know that want to hang out in a warehouse all day? I would draw up the floor plan of my first daycare for you if I could but I don't know how to do that on this Mac. So I will try to describe the best pieces of the floor plan and the flaws.

1. Double gate the living hell out of the daycare. Even the entrance into the building should be double gated. Accidents happen. Dogs ignore their owners. And there's more dogs out there that can open doors than you might think. Double gate the entrance to each playroom.
2. Have more than one entrance/exit into each playroom. It makes it easier to rotate individual dogs and entire groups. More than one gate makes for less congestion which means fewer fights. My first daycare could rotate a group from playroom one, to the pool, and then into playroom three or four. That made it possible to rotate the small dog group from play room two, into the pool, and back into playroom one without ever crossing the path of the big dogs. Does that makes sense?
3. Do NOT have doggy doors going from indoor to outdoor play areas. I'm a-OK with guillotined kennels for boarders but you ALWAYS need to be able to supervise the daycare dogs. If I am inside, all of my dogs are inside with me. That way I know that nobody is fighting, mounting, eating poop, etc.
4. Have more than one way to access the boarding kennels. If a dog comes down with kennel cough, you don't want other dogs taking the same route to their kennels. We had three kennel rooms so it was possible to quarantine sick dogs in an empty kennel room.
5. If you can't tell already, I absolutely DO want to see areas divided. In both of my daycares, daycare dogs are out all day except for lunch time. The small dogs need to be safe from the big dogs. And there is always a circle of males that HATE each other and a circle of females that HATE each other. When you have 2-3 separate play groups going, it is much easier to keep the peace.
6. Do not use chain link as a barrier between groups. It's like a formal invitation to a fence fight even for dogs that know each other.

I'm sure that there are things I'm forgetting.

The best building material seems to be concrete for the floors. You can paint it to make it look more cheerful(first place was red, second place is blue). The first daycare had a kind of sheet metal lining the walls to about 4' up or so. From there to the ceiling it was brick. The sheet metal+ concrete combo made cleaning SO much easier.

I have always kenneled dogs separately except for "siblings". If owners want siblings kenneled together, they have to sign a waiver.

My current daycare is much smaller than my first one. The first would have anywhere from 60-120 dogs whereas my current has a max of 40. There are pros and cons to big and small daycares.

Big daycares have a greater selection of playmates for your crazy youngsters and the dogs tend to stay busier throughout the day.

What I love about my small daycare is that all of the dogs really know each other. It doesn't have that dog park feel to it. If certain dogs aren't friends, they're at least acquaintances. The dogs often communicate in short hand and skip the tense, drawn out greeting process.

What I don't like about my small daycare:
1. Big dogs and little dogs are all mixed together. There has yet to be a single issue or injury but I still don't like it.
2. I am one of two employees. My boss is in there everyday. If I can't work... well, they're screwed.
3. The layout of the facility less than stellar. We have one big indoor area and one big outdoor area. Having multiple play rooms and outdoor areas keeps the dogs interested in the environment, gives something novel and entertaining. With such a boring layout, the dogs get bored with it and each other and sun bathe. I just think they'd be more tired when they go home with different things to explore.
 

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Also, good staff is hard to find. Some people think that it sounds like soooo much fun until they're two days in and they realize that it's work too. Other people just don't give a damn; they're there for a check. Every employee needs to be educated in dog play, communication, safety, +R/-P handling methods, etc. If they can't read dogs, they can't prevent fights; they can only break them up. Even then, they have to be taught how to break up a fight.
 
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